UNC (2-4) nearly became the fifth Division I team to EVER lose to the Bearcats. Here is a look at the good and the bad from Carolina's second straight home victory.
Will Johnson – After taking just one shot in his previous two games, Johnson score 11 points while grabbing five rebounds and handing out a pair of assists in 22 minutes of action. He must be aggressive enough to make defenses guard him.
Jawad Williams – Williams led Carolina with 12 points hitting five of 11 shots from the floor. The freshman also grabbed six rebounds and showed flashes of playing with confidence. Yet he was just 2-6 from the free throw line and remains to play a bit soft.
Jason Capel – To the untrained eye Capel isn't playing well but to the trained eye he is playing very well with the exception of his shooting. He reached double figures in rebounding (10) once again and did the little things that define him as a team-player to help the Heels win. His marksmenship, however, continued as a weakness as he was 4-11 (1-4 from perimeter) from the floor but did nail a huge 3-pointer.
Kris Lang – This leader has such a big heart. Despite being sick he managed to play 19 minutes and grabbed seven rebounds. He also made perhaps the game's two biggest plays, first on the denial-swat-dive-and steal of an inbound pass at mid-court and then a ferocious blocked shot, both in the last 30 seconds.
Hot start – The rare hot start should have been pleasing to blue eyes. Other than the 14-2 run to close the game against Georgia Tech, this was UNC's most impressive run of the year.
Victory – Had Carolina lost this game it would have gone down as one of the most embarrassing defeats in the program's history.
Execution – The Heels average 19 turnovers a game and are shooting 38.2% from the floor – 27.4% from 3-point range. On Sunday, the Heels were at 37.9% from the floor and 22.2% from beyond the arc, and turned the ball over 16 times. Binghamton certainly isn't Kentucky or Indiana, so the struggles likely have more to do with the Heels than the opposition. The offensive flow was poor again on Sunday mainly due to lack of movement, poor spacing, slow reactions and too much dribbling. Improvement will reduce turnovers and lead to more uncontested shot attempts, which will increase their shooting percentage and make the Heels more competitive. The team's defense has been solid, the offense is what's made them 2-4.
Matt Doherty – UNC's lineup was questionable at times. Jackie Manuel badly needs to improve all forms of ballhandling and is shooting 47.4% from the free throw line but was on the floor with UNC leading in the last minute and turned the ball over with 16 seconds left. Williams, a 38.5% free-throw shooter, was also on the floor at this time. Adam Boone played 12 minutes to Brian Morrison's 11. The erratic Morrison does turn the ball over too much but is at least aggressive and makes things happen. Boone is struggling in every facet of the game, especially on defense. While playing just one more minute a gam, Morrison has better numbers in each category other than assist-to-turnover ratio and is also a better defensive player should get Boone's minutes. Doherty must be consistent with Morrison, who may be the key to the season. If he can shed some bad habits, which come with playing time, he has the potential to be a stat-sheet stuffer.
Confidence –Binghamton has wins over Dartmouth (49-46), Stony Brook (53-51) and Army (69-57) and losses to Syracuse (103-56), George Washington (69-52), Oral Roberts (70-54), Austin Peay (54-51) and Elon (77-70) – with the last three losses coming at home. If the Heels can beat this team by just a point confidence has to be shaky, to say the least.
The Tar Heels return to action on Friday night against the College of Charleston in the first round of the Tournament of Champions tournament in Charlotte. Game time is set for 7 p.m. The Heels will play either Georgia State or St. Joseph's on Saturday night.
Andrew Jones is in his sixth year covering football and basketball for Inside Carolina. He is also in his fourth year as a copy editor and staff writer for the Wilmington Star-News and hosts a nightly radio show on WAAV-AM980 in Wilmington. He has also written for ACCNews and once published The College Game and the former Total Sports. He can be reached via e-mail at: AJWAAV@aol.com.